Tag Archive: brand love

Is the Tim Horton’s brand at risk? How can they re-kindle the Love?

tim-hortons-ellipse-logoSaid with Canadian pride, Tim Horton’s is not just an emotional decision, it’s a personal one. How we feel about Tim’s is in part irrational. We are loyal, un-relenting, outspoken, and possessive.  And we are OK to wait in a long line to get our double-double. Tim’s is still a Beloved Brand, but there are signs it might be getting tired and could be at risk at losing. The most Beloved Brands connect with their consumers in five common ways:  a brand promise (positioning) consumers love, focused strategic choices (plan), an emotional brand story (advertising) freshness (innovation) and finally the experience (backed by the culture and operations). 

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Over the last 20 years, Timmy’s had consistently nailed all five, which is what made it our most Beloved Brand.  But in the last few years, we are seeing slippage on the advertising and the customer experience.  strategy adWe can see that in the stock price for Tim Horton’s.  If you invested $10,000 in 2009, your money would have doubled in just 2 and 1/2 years–considering how badly the stock market was doing this would have been an ideal place for your money.  But since then, the stock has gained very little, and has basically been flat for the last 9 months.  That’s not worthy of panic just yet, but from usually we see issues with Brand Health before we see issues of Brand Wealth.  It seems that Tim’s has been so focused on the US expansion over the last two years, that they risk letting the brand slip in Canada.  

Let’s use the five Brand Connectors to assess Tim Horton’s Brand Health:

  1. The “comfortably Canadian” Brand Promise has been brilliant over the past 20 years, striking an emotional cord with our Canadiana more than any other brand. They have created a humble brand, with a simple comfortable menu.  Timbits-500x254It’s not the best food or coffee, but it’s comfortably predictable.  People always point to how Tim’s coffee loses in blind taste tests.  So would my mom’s dried out and burnt Roast Beef.  But I love my mom’s roast beef, because I familiar with it, and it makes me feel comfortable.  I’d grade the brand promise an A+.
  2. Strategically, going beyond the morning coffee has been a huge hit, making Tim’s into the #2 fast food in Canada.  I like the simple food items as much as the coffee. I’d also have to give Tim’s an A+ for the strategic shift to a full menu fast food.  However, the US expansion or global expansion has not been as successful.  Sales per store are not in line with the Canadian stores.  The Canadian pride that Tim’s has tapped into in Canada cannot be replicated beyond the Canadian borders.  And the competition in the US is even stronger.  This expansion likely took their eye off the Canadian operations and has damaged the customer service execution.
  3. As for the Brand Story, it is what has made the Brand, with deeply emotional and engaging advertising.  Magical Canadian story telling at it’s best, whether an old woman walking up a hill or a grandfather at the hockey rink.  But, what’s happened the last few years?  Nothing. The last two great spots that connected with consumers were at the 2010 winter Olympics with the Sidney Crosby “wouldn’t it be great…” TV Ad and the other about an immigrant family arriving at a Canadian airport. Those spots made us proud to be Canadian and Tim’s owned that pride. But, the last few years, all I see are “cute” product spots, with a media plan completely void of the anthemic beautiful ads that made Tim’s a Canadian Icon.  Please don’t show me how coffee is made. That’s completely off the brand character.  Tim’s has to return to using deeply emotional story telling to deliver the “comfortably Canadian” brand promise.  A+ for pre-2010, C+ since.  I’d like to see Tim’s return to doing more ads like this one, a simple story about hockey, but beautifully told about a grandfather visiting the hockey arena to see his grandson play hockey:  
  4. As for Freshness, the innovation pipeline with Lemonade, breakfast sandwiches, grilled cheese, ice caps, maple donuts and oatmeal all delivering the “comfortably Canadian” brand promise.  Nothing wild, nothing crazy, very Tim’s.  In terms of coffee, Tim’s has issues with McDonald’s which has an amazing coffee and a great trial strategy offering free coffee for a week. Tim Hortons vs McDonalds CanadaMost published blind taste tests show that McDonald’s clearly beats Tim’s.  But improving the Tim’s coffee might be like changing the Coke formula. I’d rather Tim’s build on the comfortable taste of the Tim’s coffee linking it to memories.  I’d give Tim’s an A- on innovation, lots of hits, a few flops.
  5. The big gap I see “brewing” (pardon my pun) is the customer experience, where I am seeing a huge drop off.  The expansion utilizing the franchise model has created a dramatically inconsistent experience from one store to the next. I’m starting to hear a lot of horror stories from consumers.  In my last 10 visits to Tim’s, I received friendly and polite service just once. (a shout out to the Aurora store where you feel good leaving)  Most times, the service is efficient, but completely impersonal.  Rarely do you hear “please” and “thank you” from the staff.   It’s not as polite as McDonald’s and not as friendly as Starbucks. If you want to deliver the brand promise of “comfortably Canadian” Tim’s needs to step it up on customer service to deliver that promise.  Polite and friendly are always free. Tim’s needs start by setting up customer service values, strategically aligned to the brand promise. They need to create action standards on service to hold franchisees accountable to delivering the brand promise.  And they need to create a training program to help staff deliver the service values.  Until we see some improvement, the grade for Tim’s experience ranges from an F to an A+, due to inconsistencies.  But overall, I’d give it a D+.

So the report card for Tim’s looks like my grade 9 report card.  A few A’s, a C+ and a stupid D+.  Most business people think “Brand” is what the Marketers do.
bbi adAnd Culture should be left to Human Resources.  Everyone is responsible for Brand and Culture.  Brand is not just about logos and ads, but is equally important internally where it acts as an internal beacon for everyone to follow.  How does Tim Horton’s want their people to show up?  What behavior should be rewarded?   If the Tim’s culture is not set up to deliver the brand promise, the risk is it all comes crashing down.  To read more on how Culture and Brand go together read:  Brand = Culture: How Culture can Help Your Brand Win

For the Tim’s brand succeed in the future and stay a Beloved Brand in Canada, they need to take that “Comfortably Canadian” Big Idea down to every part of their organization.  There might be signs that the new CEO understands what’s happening at the store level.  He recently stated:  “Future battles are not going to be won, in my view, with who has the best strategy or who has the best innovation.  The companies that will win will be the companies that can execute flawlessly at the store level.”Slide1

It’s time for Tim Horton’s to step it up on Service

Here is a powerpoint presentation on “What makes a Beloved Brand”  Click on the arrow below to follow: 

 

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What’s your view on Tiger Woods as a brand? #1 in golf, #1 in endorsements (again)

As they are about to tee off at this year’s US Open, the question remains simply:  Will Tiger Win?   Even if you hate Tiger, you’re probably asking that.  Tiger has had 4 years of no majors.  He’s been a complete collapse in front of our eyes.  He’s been a complete idiot, his wife left him, sponsors fired him.  And yet, now he’s back to #1 in golf and incredibly back to #1 in endorsements.  He’s certainly not as popular as he was before the incident, at least among the masses.  But while there are less Tiger Fans, the depth of love the fans that remain is even more intense.   And for any brand, you’d rather be loved by a few than tolerated by everyone.  

From 1997, Tiger Woods was the media darling.  What a great story.  
  • His dad was a green beret and taught Tiger all the discipline of the green berets, which Tiger then transferred into the world of golf.  
  • The video clips of him as a 3-year-old hitting the driver on the Mike Douglas show.  Cute kid, who knew he’d one day wind up being TIGER WOODS.
  • He was a 3-time US Amateur Champion, a teenager, wearing shorts, skinny, hitting it longer than anyone else.  
  • Run-away winner of the Masters at 21-years old.  With that win, golf got younger, cooler and more urban.  
  • Tiger signed with Nike of all companies.  A cool new line of clothing, cool golf balls and  amazing TV ads.  
  • Every time Tiger was playing in a golf tournament, the TV ratings went through the roof.  tiger-woods-excitementWhat you may not realize is the TV network will show every shot that Tiger takes–and likely even cutaway to him arriving and hitting on the range about 3-4 times.  
  • He was the #1 golfer, indisputably the best ever.  Other superstars (Ernie, Phil, David, Sergio) were intimidated and would collapse in fear.  By 33, Tiger had 14 Majors, and destined to easily destroy Jack’s record of 18.  
  • He had an impeccably clean image.  He was completely wholesome all-american.  He was married to a Swedish Model who was a nanny, he had two darling kids.  He was nearly flawless.   Yes, he was intense on the golf course, but all was forgiven.  

This was a bit like Jack Kennedy, where the writers had suspicions, yet no one knew.  

The Comeback Story

America loves a comeback story.  Tiger’s Comeback wasn’t exactly smooth.  Following his indiscretions that led to the divorce and the sex addiction clinic, Tiger would get far worse before he’d get better.  On the course, he was a disaster, duck-hooking, missing short putts, missing cuts and collapsing when he looked like he might win.  Off the course, Tiger was a first class JERK.  He was rude to fans and reporters.  Temper tantrums.   He fired his long time Caddy.   He fired his swing coach.  The wholesome Tiger, who was the face of golf, was now the rude Tiger.  tiger2

Tiger was a lousy golfer in 2010 and was just OK in 2011.  He kept changing his swing.  Even the naked eye could see what was wrong with it.  At times, it looked like Tiger was done.  Late 30s now, might never catch Jack and looking like he was struggling.  By 2012, there were signs of Tiger was returning to form.  He won a few tournaments, was in contention in the majors. And by 2013, Tiger is back to being Tiger.  He’s won more than anyone this year, looks back to his dominant self.   Yet he still hasn’t won a major.  

Do you think Tiger will win 5 more majors and beat Jack?  Time is ticking.  

And as of 2013, Forbes has just announced that Tiger is now the #1 on Forbes’ annual ranking of the world’s highest-paid athletes.  Forbes estimates that Woods pulled in $78.1 million over the last year from prize money, endorsements, appearance fees and golf course design work.   After the incidents of 2009, he lost five sponsors, $50 million in annual income, his place atop the world golf rankings and his marriage.  His resurgence on the links boosted his prize money over the last 12 months to $13.1 million, double his total from the prior year.  His endorsements include EA sports, Nike, Rolex, Upper Deck, TLC Eye Centers, NetJets, Japan’s Kowa and sports nutrition firm Fuse Science.

Nike was heavily criticized this spring for an ad they took out:  

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What’s the Brand Lesson Here?

From 1997 to 2009, Tiger was popular among the masses.  When he was on TV, non-golf fans would grab a beer and watch.  He was liked by nearly everyone.  After 2009, he was an embarrassment and sponsors ran.  No one seemed to like him.  Those that loved Tiger loved him quietly, and were frustrated by his poor on course performance.  

I’m not in the Tiger club.  But i can feel those around me that are.  I can hear and feel the intensity.  And the intensity of those hoping he loses is fading.  

As we’re now in 2013, Tiger is back.  While not everyone likes him now, we can certainly see he has a core base of fans who LOVE him.  Tiger’s brand promise has been simplified to winning golf.  He’s not trying to be a great guy.  He’s trying to be an OK guy.  But the fans of Tiger just want to see him win.  They know he’s personally flawed and they really don’t care.  They are inspired to see the best golfer of all time.  It is always far better as a brand to be loved by a few than liked by everyone.  That love becomes a source of connection with core fans and a source of power for the Tiger brand.   With brand power, Tiger has been able to drive added revenue for himself off the course.  More shirts, more video games and more watches.  If Tiger wins a major and continues to be “an OK guy”, I suspect we’ll see a few main stream endorsement deals for Tiger.  

Tiger 2.0 is Loved by a few not liked by everyone.  

 

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To read more about how the love for a brand creates more power and profits:

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  1. How to Write a Creative Brief.  The creative brief really comes out of two sources, the brand positioning statement and the advertising strategy that should come from the brand plan.  To read how to write a Creative Brief, click on this hyperlink:  How to Write a Creative Brief
  2. How to Write a Brand Plan:  The positioning statement helps frame what the brand is all about.  However, the brand plan starts to make choices on how you’re going to make the most of that promise.  Follow this hyperlink to read more on writing a Brand Plan:  How to Write a Brand Plan
  3. Consumer Insights:  To get richer depth on the consumer, read the following story by clicking on the hyper link:  Everything Starts and Ends with the Consumer in Mind

 

Brand LeadershipI run the Brand Leader Learning Center,  with programs on a variety of topics that are all designed to make better Brand Leaders.  To read more on how the Learning Center can help you as a Brand Leader click here:   Brand Leadership Learning Center

 

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To reach out directly, email me at graham.robertson@beloved-brands.com

About Graham Robertson: The reason why I started Beloved Brands Inc. is to help brands realize their full potential value by generating more love for the brand.   I only do two things:  1) Make Brands Better or 2) Make Brand Leaders Better.  I have a reputation as someone who can find growth where others can’t, whether that’s on a turnaround, re-positioning, new launch or a sustaining high growth.  And I love to make Brand Leaders better by sharing my knowledge.  Im a marketer at heart, who loves everything about brands.  My background includes 20 years of CPG marketing at companies such as Johnson and Johnson, Pfizer Consumer, General Mills and Coke.  My promise to you is that I will get your brand and your team in a better position for future growth. Add me on LinkedIn at http://www.linkedin.com/in/grahamrobertson1 so we can stay connected.

 

 

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Happy Valentines: A Love Story For Brand Leaders

Why Does Love Matter for a Brand?

Today is all about love.  And while you might be buying some flowers or chocolate for the one you love, what are you doing to show your consumer that you love them?   How do you expect them to love you, if you don’t show them a little bit of love.  

Here’s a cute ad that Coke, one of the most beloved brands, is doing to celebrate the day with their consumers.  

More Love Means More Profits

Brand Leaders are thinkers and don’t always feel comfortable getting all emotional.  They don’t have time for fluff, because they have a bottom line to hit.  How many times have we heard: “keep it simple, show my product shot, say my superiority claim, show a demo and the product will sell itself”.  

But what if I told you that the more love you can generate for your brand, the more money you will make.  Does that sound like crazy talk?

The Brand Love Curve

In the consumer’s mind, brands sit along a hypothetical Brand Love Curve, going from Indifferent to Like It to Love It and finally becoming a Beloved Brand for Life. 

Love Curve Detailed

The farther along the curve the deeper the connection.  At the beloved stage, demand becomes desire, needs become cravings, and thinking is replaced with feelings.  Consumers become outspoken fans.  That connection helps drive a positional power for your brand—a power versus competitors, customers, suppliers and even versus the very consumers that love you.  With that power, consumers will pay more, use more and follow where the brand goes next.   All this love goes straight to the bottom line. 

Brand Love: 

Marketers keep debating what makes a great brand.  Is it the product, the advertising or even the experience?  There are 5 sources of Brand Love: the brand promise, experience, strategy, innovation and the communication of the brand story.   

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The brand’s promise must be relevant, simple and compelling enough to connect. A brand can only be better, different or cheaper.  Otherwise it won’t be around for very long.  The most beloved brands are based on an idea worth loving.  The strategic choices should start with where the brand is on the Brand Love Curve and finding ways to create a deeper connection.  Externally, the promise is delivered through communication, but just important the brand acts as an internal beacon to the culture and the R&D.   The brand story expresses the promise in a compelling way, whether through paid media, earned, social and search.  The experience created by the culture has to over-deliver the brand promise. Freshness of innovation, keeps the brands one-step ahead of competitors.   Every new product should tie back to the brand promise.   Execution in every facet matters:  you have to love what you do.   If you don’t love the work how do you expect your consumer to love your brand?

 

Brand Power: 

Once you create love with your consumer, the key is turning that love into power. 

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That starts with a power over the very consumers that love them.  The most loyal users line up in the rain for new products, promote and defend the brand, pay the price premium and even follow the brand to new categories.  With this connection, beloved brands have a power over channels, as people would rather switch stores than switch brands.  There’s a power over the media. Not only can you afford more paid media, you can generate more free media: earned, social or search media.  Apple generates over a billion dollars of free media via the mainstream media and social media.  Beloved Brands have a power over employees that want to be part of the brand who intimately know and bring a passion to the brand before they even start.

Brand Profit:

Because the brand is now tied more to how you feel than just the product, there’s a direct impact on the P&L. 

Slide1 copy 2

The most beloved brands create momentum as crowds follow crowds, turning it into share gains.  Consumers follow the Brand into new categories.   The price is inelastic with loyal brand fans pay a 20-30% price premium and even the weakened channels and take lower margins.  In terms of costs, suppliers will cut their price to be on the brand’s roster, and higher volumes lower cost of goods.  With higher share, new categories, an inelastic price and lower cost structure, the most beloved brand can turn the connection into growth profits. 

 

The formula for a Beloved Brand is simple:
Beloved = Power = Growth = Profit

 

So maybe it’s time for Brand Leaders to start asking: “And how will this make our consumers love my brand”

 

 

Here’s a summary on Creating a Beloved Brand: 

 

Other Stories You Might Like
  1. How to Write a Creative Brief.  The creative brief really comes out of two sources, the brand positioning statement and the advertising strategy that should come from the brand plan.  To read how to write a Creative Brief, click on this hyperlink:  How to Write a Creative Brief
  2. How to Write a Brand Positioning Statement.  Before you even get into the creative brief, you should be looking at target, benefits and reason to believe.   To read how to write a Brand Positioning Statement, click on this hyperlink:  How to Write an Effective Brand Positioning Statement
  3. Turning Brand Love into Power and Profits:  The positioning statement sets up the promise that kick starts the connection between the brand and consumer.  There are four other factors that connect:  brand strategy, communication, innovation and experience.   The connectivity is a source of power that can be leveraged into deeper profitability.  To read more click on the hyper link:  Love = Power = Profits 

Brand LeadershipI run the Brand Leader Learning Center,  with programs on a variety of topics that are all designed to make better Brand Leaders.  To read more on how the Learning Center can help you as a Brand Leader click here:   Brand Leadership Learning Center

Pick your Social Media vehicle and follow us by clicking on the icon below

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To reach out directly, email me at graham.robertson@beloved-brands.com

About Graham Robertson: The reason why I started Beloved Brands Inc. is to help brands realize their full potential value by generating more love for the brand.   I only do two things:  1) Make Brands Better or 2) Make Brand Leaders Better.  I have a reputation as someone who can find growth where others can’t, whether that’s on a turnaround, re-positioning, new launch or a sustaining high growth.  And I love to make Brand Leaders better by sharing my knowledge.  Im a marketer at heart, who loves everything about brands.  My background includes 20 years of CPG marketing at companies such as Johnson and Johnson, Pfizer Consumer, General Mills and Coke.  My promise to you is that I will get your brand and your team in a better position for future growth. Add me on LinkedIn at http://www.linkedin.com/in/grahamrobertson1 so we can stay connected.

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